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Brookstone tests QR codes to drive in-store, catalog sales

Retailer Brookstone has rolled out a QR code test campaign in 30 stores, as well as in its catalogs to provide consumers with product information and increase sales.

The multichannel gadgets and gifts retailer is promoting the program in its in-store windows – the comapny is looking to roll out QR codes more broadly next year. The goal is to be able provide customers with the information they are looking for and, thereby, drive sales.

“Customers come in and want to find out more about products and how they work and to see customer reviews,” said Don Eames, vice president of stores at Brookstone, Merrimack, NH.

“Those are the things that customers are most interested in and the more we can satisfy their needs, the more motivated they are to buy,” he said.

The place to be
The program was launched in 30 stores in the New York City.

Mobile bar codes for certain items in the store are posted on the floor signage and placed certain products.

The signs explain what the product is and also provides pricing information.

Additionally, when consumers scan the QR codes, they see videos and demonstrations of how the product works.

Brookstone, which sells products via catalogs, stores and online, started looking at mobile about 12 months ago as part of its interest in finding ways to make its marketing methods more relevant to customers.

“We felt that the traditional marketing methods we were using were getting kind of stale,” Mr. Eames said.

Brookstone settled on QR codes because it provides the relevancy the retailer was looking for while enabling it to reach a large cross-section of customers.

“The bar code readers are different in that they take you to pricing and promotion information,” Mr. Eames said. “Price is a losing proposition, while education around product information is a whole lot better place to be than always scanning and looking at price.”

Brookstone store associates are helping promote the QR program by asking customers if they have a smartphone and telling them how to download a QR code app so they can scan the codes.

The windows for the store on 49th Street and Sixth Avenue also have four TVs that feature content talking about QR code technology and inviting people to come in and try it.

QR codes were also featured in the retailer’s recent Mother’s Day catalog and are in the Father’s Day catalog that is dropping this week.

The codes are featured alongside certain products and on the back cover.

“We are pleased with the results so far,” Mr. Eames said.

The product receiving the most QR code scans so far has been the Tranquil Moments Sound Machine for Sleep, which was a popular Mother’s Day gift.

Other popular scans include anything related to iPads and the Drone quadricopter.

Brookstone will continue testing mobile bar codes throughout this year and expects to roll out the program to all stores and catalogs some time during the first half of next year.

Brookstone introduced a mobile Web site a year ago.

“QR code technology is growing quickly but is still a relatively young technology,” Mr. Eames said.

“Our plan would be as we learn more, we will put it into more catalogs and stores as quickly as we are confident,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode, Mobile Commerce Daily